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Higham House in Woodford Giclee Print

What is the with the wealthy and naming inanimate objects? Their homes, their coaches, and so on. As previously discussed in prior posts, naming something gives a sense of ownership and thus responsibility to a thing (like a child or pet). It is also a means of identification and tracking (surnames for example). While some academics would loathe to admit it, naming reveals the personality and even values of the Namer. For instance, a person who names their daughter Mary after their grandmother, has different (not better or worse; just different) values and personality than a person who names their little girl Holland or Hollynn, because they have some sort of affinity for country or like the sound of the name/spelling.

Interestingly enough studies in Europe have found that a named estate/house/car increases the public’s perception of the value of said object. Thusly, named things tend to cost more. On this side of the pond (as well as globally in a modern sense) this ties in with “branding.” I once read an article in magazine of up and coming actress who was showed a rack of dresses to try on for a cover shoot. She dismissed one as hideously ugly and moved on to the next. The Stylist, in shock, stopped her and explain. “But this is Chanel!!” The actress stopped dead in her tracks and took a second look. “Ooooo! It’s Chanel!” Suddenly, she changed her mind and wore the previously “hideous dress” for the cover. *sigh*

Ah, but I digress . . . naming of estates. It was a means of identification and legacy for the landed gentry in Europe. Often times the name is derived from the owner’s family name, a distinctive feature of the nearby land or building itself, or flora and fauna found nearby. The majority of real estate names are compound words like “Edgelake.” Usually the moniker is followed by

  • Castle: In the bastion/fortress sense of architecture
  • Court: If the home has a interior or exterior courtyard
  • Estate: The entire property and all the buildings on it
  • Hall: If the home had one; think like a great room in modern parlance (but much, much, much bigger)
  • House: Where the family resides
  • Lake: If there was one nearby
  • Manor: Usually a country house, where the Lord and Lady live
  • Mote: If the land had one
  • Palace: Not a castle, has it was built strictly for pleasure and show
  • Place: Any residence really
  • Park: If on or near a huge expanse of undeveloped land

Some names connote the size or the style of said dwelling. Roughly in order of smallest to largest, without repeating from the list above:

  • Hovel
  • Shack
  • Cabin
  • Cottage
  • Digs
  • Bungalow

In “Aldershot” whence I relocated, the subdivisions have an array of names. Some accurate, others woefully fantastical given the city’s residence is in the desert of Arizona.–Names like Acacia Farms (this place is a bit rural agriculture, so that fits), Desert Meadow (A meadow is a clearing . . . and a desert is . . . uh . . . a dead clearing??? Sounds a bit redundant to me) Highland Manor (Sounds like a Scottish country home! So atypical of middle Arizona landscape) Wildwood (If we had wood in the area it might be spot on, but alas we just have palo verde, palm trees, and many dead shrubs . . . )

I did named my home, because . . . well, I want to! It is a personal choice. It shall not be named in the formal sense like those in Europe which requires legal registration and change of records. I am basically dubbing my place. I wanted something that conveyed provincial glamour and local flavor. As it happens, my street has the name “Willow” in it. . . . so my estate name? Diamondleaf Cottage! Does it not dazzle?!